Let The Healing Begin - Awake Up Call For A Better San Francisco

League of Women Voters - Remarks from Francisco Herrera

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How do we get City Hall to listen to the wisdom of our neighborhoods and respect our strengths? What kind of city do we want for our children and grandchildren - for ourselves? These are questions those of us who have formed the People’s Campaign have been asking around San Francisco.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Francisco Herrera and I am here to seek your vote to serve as Mayor of San Francisco in order to re-direct the runaway housing market which is devastating the very fabric of our community.  

I believe we the people of this city have the wisdom and ability to create a plan and a vision that will allow us to develop San Francisco into a Working Family Friendly City Again.  I only have five minutes to share points of this vision with you, for deeper reflection please visit our website: peoplescampaign.net  

I love San Francisco. I’ve lived here for almost thirty years. I am happily married and have been lucky enough to help raise my children here. 

My experience as a Jesuit studying to be a priest and working here at St Ignatius and SI College Prep nourished my faith in Humanity and the essential belief in Justice. It also taught me respect for the world's traditions and religions; my working class roots instilled in me the life giving principle of solidarity and taught me to bring together seemingly competing self-interests to work for the greater good;

The physical and spiritual health of San Francisco depends on those who work here. And we should be able to live here.  But most city workers cannot - teachers, nurses, professionals and laborers cannot afford to live here.  Our school district reports that up to 2,700 children are homeless, People who hold jobs in the Sunset, are living in their cars. Russian and Chinese elders live in fear of eviction.  Tenants from the Richmond to Hunter’s Point to Yerba Buena Island are living in constant fear of the Ellis Act eviction, seized by panic, wondering “when will I get the letter my building has been sold?”

I believe both long term residents and newcomers can make sure San Francisco continues to be the world-class community of communities it has always been.

Our goal is to bring San Francisco back to health and start by eliminating the anxiety we have been experiencing as we see neighbors, friends, co-workers and even city leaders forced out or “priced out” of the city by an unchecked housing market. The market is what we make it to be. If it hurts us we must reign it in. It is not a god and what is happening here is not natural.  

The key problem is Affordability.

We can protect and preserve existing housing for all San Franciscans and produce more affordable housing for those who need it.  But affordability is not just paying the rent. It means access to healthy food, excellent education, quality healthcare, culture, the arts, sports, a living wage and good benefits programs, a transit system we all use and safe streets with community policing. Affordability means alternative, clean renewable energy that reduces the cost of electricity, creating real market competition and the lowering of prices. Let’s get the invisible hand of Adam Smith moving, instead of the slide of hand of The Milton “Bradley” Friedman school of privatization, called monopoly.  

Fortunately, people throughout the city are organizing, responding to this crisis and making City Hall do its political duty: Defend and protect our people.  As Your Mayor I will work with Labor, Community groups and San Franciscans in general to support city workers, enrich services for education, re-invigorating City College, bring fiber optic connections to every home, to overcome the digital divide; work with corporations to meet their community benefits agreements for local hiring, strengthen the people’s right to organize for better working conditions and a living wage.

The vision of a ‘healthy city’ cannot just be a dream of lofty promises. It has to be nourished, planned for and developed. That is why we the people who live in San Francisco are ultimately the most important developers. The folks who come here to invest and nourish our tourism industry and transitional living for vacation are welcomed here, but they are not developers. We are the people that will decide the fate of our city.

The media have portrayed this as a one-horse race but here I am with the backing of SEIU LOCAL 1021, American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, The San Francisco Tenant’s Union, the SF Green Party, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and Supervisor John Avalos, the Bernal Heights and District 8 Democratic club. These groups represent over 60,000 people.

How can we allow Mayor Ed Lee to be re-elected without a real debate about the future of our city at a time when we are going through the harshest housing crisis in decades?I have seen people die, from the effects of this cruel displacement, And in their memory I am walking, not running, walking to City Hall at your side, I hope.  But the possibilities don’t stop there. Thanks to Rank Choice Voting you can vote 1-2-3 to replace Mr Ed Lee. I say vote for Francisco Herrera, Amy Weiss, or Stuart Schuffman and create a level playing field, where qualified candidates can compete with a millionaire, for the future of San Francisco.

I have been working for the health of San Francisco for close to thirty years and am here ready to serve in the capacity of Mayor bringing the political will to work with the professionals, technicians, and planners that present the best practices to allow our city to grow in a way that benefits all of us, and not just open the doors to the folks with the most cash. That kind of fast lane slash and burn community investment for a quick buck is literally killing us.

I ask for your VOTE, your prayers and support.  I thank the League of women voters for your great work and I pledge my continued commitment to make San Francisco Affordable and Working Family-Friendly.

I thank you all for your time. Let the healing continue.

Francisco Herrera

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